Practice Tips For Magicians.
Practice Makes Perfect (The Three Steps Of Practice).
To become better at something you need to practice. That’s a well known fact which is understood across all disciplines from ballet dancers to 100m sprinters, to actors, to baristas. No matter what you or role is, you should be practicing to improve.
As magicians we often fall into the trap of only practicing the basic moves a few times, then never coming back to them again once we have performed the effect in the real world. We’ll come back to this in a moment, Firstly What are we practicing for?
What are we practicing for?
Ultimately we are practicing to make our routines the best they can be. Practice is a three step process but we as magicians are guilty of sometimes only practicing the first two steps. Read on to find out what we mean!
The Three steps of Practice
*Step 1 (Practicing for the 100m sprint)
When we first purchase a routine, or create the idea of one ourselves, we practice the moves to get them down so that we know what needs to happen when. We spend time working out the handling of the props so that we can do the routine without getting caught. Take some time and make sure you aren’t going to get caught before you try things out in the real world.
With this initial practice of the moves we also learn a basic script, this can be the one provided with the instructions but it is always stronger if you can make your own version which relates to you.
*Step 2 (running the race)
Next comes practice in front of a real audience in the real world. Take your magic routines out and see how they play. This will give you real life feedback on any moves you need to adjust or any scripting you need to alter. Maybe the move you learnt initially doesn’t work when you are table hopping, or a particular thing you have learnt doesn’t work that way in your parlour show. Learn from your experience in the real world performances, use these as live practice situations and adjust your performance accordingly. Sometimes the audience will give you lines and comments you never would have thought of on your own, incorporate these into your script as well.
*Step 3 (Keep training!)
This is the bit that magicians miss! So many other professions seem to do this very naturally but we don’t. Once you have performed in the real world don’t sit back on your haunches and think that this is enough and that practice in the real world is all you need to do. Don’t kid yourself! Usain Bolt (insert any athlete you like here) doesn’t relax after smashing the 100m record and wait for the next competition, he goes back to the gym and works on any little tweaks he can while making sure he is in top condition for the next race.
We as magicians need to be more like this. In between performances we need to go back to our training grounds, back to practicing in front of a mirror or camera at home and work on the routines again, and again, and again. If we practice in between performances then we will improve so much faster! This is the sporting equivalent of training in the off season, keep training, keep practicing, then you will be leagues ahead for your next performance.
It is great to practice in the real world, in front of real people, as this will take your magic to the next level, but don’t neglect step 3 – continue to practice in the off season, between gigs!
I have some further tips on how you can practice your routines equally without becoming bogged down in my book ‘Magical Musings, A Voyage To Better Magic.’ There is a lot of advice on there for Magicians as well as 10 routines from my personal notebook. Drop me a message to order a copy.
Ian, Phil, Rob, & Tony.
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